Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Why in News
- According to a recently published study, researchers have developed a new way to improve the prediction of earthquakes.
- Earthquakes usually occur along faults (fractures between rocks which can range from a few millimetres to thousands of kilometres). When two blocks of earth slip past one another, seismic waves are generated in a short span of time and earthquakes occur.
- The waves travel to the surface causing destruction and are difficult to predict, making it challenging to save lives.
- Scientists have attempted to recreate the faults and their sliding in laboratories to try and understand the conditions in them during earthquakes.
- The actual conditions are so complex that it is difficult to recreate them with full accuracy which makes the prediction of earthquakes difficult.
- Researchers have now used a different approach for earthquake prediction by trying to predict the frictional strength of
- Frictional Strength: It is the force required to cause movement along a fault.
- Phyllosilicates: Minerals in the form of thin plates found along the weakest part of the faults where earthquakes occur.
- The researchers analysed artificial fault zones on a microscopic scale to identify processes that occurred during the experiment. A set of equations were then formulated to predict how the frictional strength of phyllosilicate changes, along with a change in conditions such as humidity or the rate of fault movement.
- This made it easier for modellers to simulate fault movement in natural conditions, including earthquakes. The new model predicts that movement along phyllosilicate-rich fault zones becomes more difficult as it becomes faster and this has been consistent with experiments.
- This behaviour of movement becoming more difficult prevents earthquakes and suggests minerals other than phyllosilicates play an important role in causing earthquakes.
- These are the first waves detected by seismographs (instruments used to detect and record earthquakes).
- These are longitudinal waves which means they vibrate along the same direction as they travel. Other examples of longitudinal waves include sound waves and waves in a stretched spring.
- These waves arrive at the detector after primary waves. These are transverse waves which means they vibrate at a right angle to the direction in which they travel. Other examples of transverse waves include light waves and water waves.
- Both types of seismic waves can be detected near the earthquake centre but only P-waves can be detected on the other side of the Earth. P-waves can travel through solids and liquids (since they are longitudinal waves) whereas S-waves can only travel through solids (as they are transverse waves). This means the liquid part of the core blocks the passage of S-waves.
- The earthquake events are scaled either according to the magnitude or intensity of the shock. The magnitude scale is known as the Richter scale. The magnitude relates to the energy released during the earthquake which is expressed in absolute numbers, 0-10.
- The intensity scale or Mercalli scale takes into account the visible damage caused by the event. The range of intensity scale is from 1-12.
Category: Environment and Ecology
Brahmapuram Dumping Site: Kerala
Why in News
- Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued an order pertaining to the case of legacy waste (old municipal solid waste) piling up at the Kochi Corporation’s Brahmapuram dumpsite.
The NGT Judgement:
- The Chairman and Member Secretary of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will be held liable if they fail to initiate prosecution and recover compensation from those responsible for the unscientific handling of waste at Brahmapuram.
- The government decided to float fresh tenders as only one agency had met the minimum eligibility criteria when an e-tender for biomining of legacy waste at Brahmapuram was floated on 20 March, 2020. The Bench suggested that other available options (besides biomining) be considered for compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- The tribunal expressed doubts on whether the leachate (dark liquid that gets generated within the solid waste) generated at the dumping yard could be treated in an ordinary septage treatment plant as it contained heavy metals.
- Only 1% of the recyclable plastic waste is recovered while the remaining 99% ends up as heaps in the dumping yard.
- The leachate from the waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram is a major source of pollution of the river Kadambrayar.
- Legacy waste was found to be a reason for the fire outbreaks. In 2020, the government took over the task of scientific management of legacy waste accumulated at Brahmapuram waste dumping yard from the Kochi corporation by invoking the provision under Section 24(e) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Municipal Solid Waste Management
- Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management is one of the most serious challenges to environment protection and although Solid Waste Management Rules have been framed in 2016, their implementation remains a problem.
- The local authorities are responsible for the development of infrastructure for collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of MSW.
- There are two major challenges of solid waste management:
- Managing the continuous flow of solid waste on a daily basis.
- Dealing with the legacy of neglect which has resulted in garbage heaps having built at dumpsites that were meant for waste processing and landfills. In July 2019, the NGT directed that each local body would have to pay a compensation .
- This compensation is equally applicable to local bodies found erring on the issue of remediation of legacy waste (to be completed by 7 April, 2021 statutorily).
- If local bodies are unable to bear financial burden, the liability will be of state governments to take remedial action against the erring bodies.
- An environment monitoring cell may be set up in the office of chief secretaries of all states/UTs for compliance. Remediation process is expected to be done as per the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
- Kochi needs to learn from success stories of urban local bodies like Thiruvananthapuram corporation, which is bigger in terms of population but is effectively managing waste with hundreds of Thumboormuzhy bins, material recovery centres and a mobile application.
- Remediation of waste will help in unlocking the land occupied by waste sites which then can be used for setting up of biodiversity parks/buffer zones. Some parts can even be monetized. Further, protecting the environment is a constitutional mandate.